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Backstroke the focus as Chris Arbuthnott targets 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games

source: Manawatu Standard
by: SHAUN EADE

Chris Arbuthnott is hoping to continue his impressive results in the pool as he puts a focus on backstroke heading towards the Commonwealth Games.

The Palmerston North Ice Breaker para-swimmer is contesting the ASA Age Group Championships in Auckland this week, which doubles as a Commonwealth Games trial.

Arbuthnott, 19, has already hit the qualifying time for the S9 100m backstroke at the Commonwealth Games, but he has yet to be confirmed a place in the team

With that in mind, Arbuthnott has put his other swimming categories on the back-burner and will instead focus all his attention on backstroke, despite holding the national record in the 200m butterfly.

He has only entered two events at the ASA Age Group Championships - his Commonwealth Games the 100m backstroke and the 50m backstroke, an event where he also holds a national record.

He set a 1-minute 7.36-second 100m backstroke time earlier this year and was determined to knock that down further.

"Anything faster [is my goal], then that will cement my place in Com Games," he said.

His current time has him ranked fifth in the Commonwealth.

Arbuthnott, who is now based in Auckland where he is studying psychology, said the Commonwealth Games was his focus at the moment with other big events in 2018, including the World Championships in Tokyo, much later in the year.

"It is still quite far away from the next world championships, so the aim is just to keep training and prepare myself for the massive competitions."

Arbuthnott is not the only member of the Ice Breakers Swimming Club in action this week.

Fellow club member Oshieana–Breeze Sanisitou is entered in six events at the ASA Age Group Championships.

She will contest the 50m and 100m freestyle, the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke and the 50m butterfly.

Australian-based club member Laticia Transom is taking part in the Queensland swimming championships.

The recently-crowned Māori junior sportswoman of the year will contest the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle in the open category and the 100 and 200m freestyle in the 16-year-old category.

That trio will no doubt provide plenty of inspiration for the 10 young swimmers the club has heading to the Wellington junior championships this weekend.